Foibles Episode 18 Pt II: Jean Harlow "Baby is Gone"


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Jean Harlow Born Harlean Carpenter McGrew Bern Rossen (1911-1937)

Bibliography: Platinum Girl: The Life and Legacy of Jean Harlow by Eve Golden, 1991. Recommended Harlow films: The Public Enemy (1931) Red-Headed Woman (1932) - Her breakout role and her 1st of 4 films with her BFF Clark Gable. Red Dust (1932) - Also with Gable. Fine vehicle for Harlow, if you can handle the colonialistic lens of the film. Dinner at Eight (1933) - star-studded cast including John and Lionel Barrymore. Harlow steals the show. Libeled Lady (1936) - She acted with her real-life fiance William Powell (famously of the The Thin Man series), though in the movie she conceded him to Myrna Loy.

False rumors about Harlow: 1) Jean's 2nd husband committed suicide because he was impotent/Jean's husband was murdered: Neither Jean or the studio had anything to do with the death of her 2nd husband, Paul Bern. And there is no evidence that her husband was impotent. On the other hand, Bern had just been visited by his 1st wife, whom he had never divorced and about whom he had not told Jean. 2) Jean died because her mother refused to allow her to have medical treatment due to Christian Science beliefs: Neither Jean nor her mother were Christian Scientist. Medical help was sought as soon as it was evident that Harlow needed treatment. Her mother did not prevent Jean from receiving care, in fact, she urged Jean to see a doctor. Jean died of kidney failure before dialysis existed.

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